Northern NY News
Written by Nathan Barker
Thursday, 12 November 2009 11:29
GOUVERNEUR, NY - Despite the fact that Bill Owens has already been sworn-in and has voted on crucial legislation in the House of Representatives, he may not have actually won the NY-23 Congressional Special Election.
Several errors were made during the initial vote counts. Over 2,000 votes for contender Doug Hoffman were not counted in the preliminary results, narrowing the current vote gap to less than 3,000 votes between Democrat Bill Owens and Conservative Doug Hoffman.
The errors were discovered during the standard vote recanvas that has been underway since November 4th. The largest error occurred in Oswego County where the vote recanvas found a discrepancy of more than 1,200 votes in Doug Hoffman's favor. Another error, in Jefferson County contributed an additional 700 votes in Hoffman's favor during the recount.
The election was close enough even on election night that the New York State Board of Elections was unable to present a "clear decision" in the race according to John Conklin, Communications Director for the department. He said that the Board sent a letter to the Clerk of the House of Representatives in Washington indicating that they could not yet determine a winner and could therefore not certify the election until after the recanvas and absentee ballot count. Those final numbers will not be available until at least mid-December.
Nancy Pelosi was only able to legally swear-in Bill Owens because Doug Hoffman had conceded the election, indicating that he did not contest the initial, and now shown erroneous, results, something he may not have done if he had been aware of how close the election was.
Mr. Hoffman told the Gouverneur Times that he felt at the time that he "was being a good sport" in doing so. With 93% of the polls in and counted and a margin of over 5,000 votes in favor of Owens, he felt he had lost the election. He now says that "while hindsight is 20/20, if I had known it was that close, I probably would have waited."
Bill Owens was sworn in 2 days later and proceeded to vote in favor of Pelosi's health care bill the following day. While Mr. Hoffman feels that deliberately contesting the results of the election to prevent Owens' deciding vote in the Health Care bill would "not have been very sportsmanlike," and that he, personally, would not like to see a politician manipulate events in that manner, he also indicated that the good of the American people and the citizens of the 23rd district would have weighed in on that decision as well.
As it stands now, Bill Owens may be in Washington and voting the Pelosi Party line but when the vote is certified he may be ousted. The state Board of Elections indicated that "...all ballots will be counted, and if the result changes, Owens will have to be removed." Concession speech or not, if the voters in the 23rd District elected Doug Hoffman and not Bill Owens, then Hoffman will be the Representative.
There are currently over 10,000 uncounted absentee ballots, many of which were in the military where a strongly conservative bias exists. Given the narrow margin of Owens' lead at this time, it's entirely possible that this race could still swing for Hoffman.
Would such a replacement have any impact on the Health Care vote? Sure would be fun to watch Nancy's head explode if Hoffman actually got seated.
The Gunslinger, EOTIS